noun \fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē\

: the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.

: a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.

: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live

plural -phies

Full Definition of PHILOSOPHY

a (1) :  all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts (2) :  the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology <a doctor of philosophy> (3) :  the 4-year college course of a major seminary
b (1) archaic :  physical science
(2) :  ethics
c :  a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology
a :  pursuit of wisdom
b :  a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means
c :  an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs
a :  a system of philosophical concepts
b :  a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought <the philosophy of war>
a :  the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group
b :  calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher

Examples of PHILOSOPHY

  1. Her degree is in philosophy and religion.
  2. The group eventually split over conflicting political philosophies.
  3. Her main cooking philosophy is to use only fresh ingredients.
  4. There's plenty of blame to go around: poor regulation, eight years of a failed Republican economic philosophy, Wall Street-friendly Democrats who helped stymie reform, misguided bipartisan efforts to promote home ownership, Wall Street greed, corrupt CEOs, a botched rescue effort, painfully fallible central bankers. —Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009


Middle English philosophie, from Anglo-French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos philosopher
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Philosophy Terms

dialectic, dualism, epistemology, existentialism, metaphysics, ontology, sequitur, solipsism, transcendentalism

Rhymes with PHILOSOPHY


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Critical examination of the rational grounds of our most fundamental beliefs and logical analysis of the basic concepts employed in the expression of such beliefs. Philosophy may also be defined as reflection on the varieties of human experience, or as the rational, methodical, and systematic consideration of the topics that are of greatest concern to humanity. Philosophical inquiry is a central element in the intellectual history of many civilizations. Difficulty in achieving a consensus about the definition of the discipline partly reflects the fact that philosophers have frequently come to it from different fields and have preferred to reflect on different areas of experience. All the world's great religions have produced significant allied philosophical schools. Western philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, George Berkeley, and Søren Kierkegaard regarded philosophy as a means of defending religion and dispelling the antireligious errors of materialism and rationalism. Pythagoras, René Descartes, and Bertrand Russell, among others, were primarily mathematicians whose views of reality and knowledge were influenced by mathematics. Figures such as Thomas Hobbes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and John Stuart Mill were mainly concerned with political philosophy, whereas Socrates and Plato were occupied chiefly by questions in ethics. The Pre-Socratics, Francis Bacon, and Alfred North Whitehead, among many others, started from an interest in the physical composition of the natural world. Other philosophical fields include aesthetics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophical anthropology. See also analytic philosophy; Continental philosophy; feminist philosophy; philosophy of science.


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